Today the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) issued an update(link is external) to health care providers statewide regarding the availability of COVID-19 treatments. Oral antiviral medications for the treatment of COVID-19 are now widely available across Wisconsin. Wisconsinites with symptoms of COVID-19 are urged to test as soon as possible and talk to their healthcare provider to see if any one of the approved COVID-19 treatments will be right for them.
“These effective treatments are a critically important tool to fight COVID-19 for people who are at high risk for severe illness. We urge everyone to accept these treatments when recommended by their doctors,” said Dr. Jonathan Meiman, a DHS Chief Medical Officer. “But please remember, these treatments do not replace the need to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines and boosters are the most effective way to prevent severe illness that may require hospitalization if you get COVID-19.”
In December 2021, two oral antiviral medications received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. The medications, Paxlovid and Lagevrio (molnupiravir), are proven to reduce hospitalizations and deaths for patients, by as much as 88% with Paxlovid.
“When we first began receiving allocations of these medicines, the supply was very limited,” said Dr. Meiman. “Today, we have a very good supply on hand in Wisconsin, and we urge symptomatic patients who may be at risk for severe disease to test as soon as possible and seek treatment if diagnosed with COVID-19.”
In addition to oral antivirals, the monoclonal antibody treatment bebtelovimab and the monoclonal antibody preventative Evusheld are also widely available.
Individuals must have a prescription from a healthcare provider or designated Test-to-Treat(link is external) site to get these treatments. Paxlovid (for people age 12 and older) and Lagevrio (for people age 18 and older) are recommended for individuals with mild to moderate COVID-19 illness who:
- Have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Are at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness(link is external), hospitalization, or death.
- Can start treatment within 5 days of symptom onset.
Oral antiviral pills can be accessed with a prescription at retail pharmacies across the state, including many community pharmacies, select Walgreens and Walmart pharmacies, and nearly all CVS locations. DHS is also working closely with long-term care facilities to ensure residents have access to the medications. Monoclonal antibody treatments are at many medical centers and hospitals throughout the state.
Since January, a total of 12,740 patient courses of Paxlovid and 2,888 courses of Lagevrio have been distributed to healthcare facilities in Wisconsin. As of April 27, 2022, only 23% of Paxlovid and 6% of Lagevrio courses have been dispensed to patients.
For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit the DHS COVID-19 webpage. We encourage you to follow @DHSWI on Facebook(link is external), Twitter(link is external), or dhs.wi on Instagram (link is external)for more information on COVID-19.